…just wailing away on this fucked up old piano. All of the facing was gone and it was basically just the functional bits; keys and hammers and strings. The sun was setting, as it does so far North; it fools you, you know.
The sun will set for hours at a time.
The windows rattled from the noise. The floor creaked from the weight of 8 pianos jammed into this man’s living room. Bugs everywhere. Dogs. Old records. A wood stove. It was an amazing thing to be there, watching this dude just blast those fucking keys like a man possessed amid the chaos in that perfect light.
Kevin has 36 pianos and is a stand up gent. He’s got a nice spread up in Houlton, ME. 100 acres or more, something like that. Ben, the dude who runs the blueberry farm, called his friend and he asked him to let me stay at his place.
After leaving Cherryfield I struck for Houlton. I took Route 1.
Side roads off Route 1, or nearly any local road, on Maine’s Northeast coast will take you into the blueberry barrens. Great field’s of low-lying wild blueberry bushes will stretch to the horizon in all directions. Ben says that there are places in the barrens where you can drive for miles and see nothing but gravel roads and fields of blueberry. It is disorienting and he notes that travellers have gotten lost in the barrens for days.
In Jonesport I hit up the Maine Coast Sardine Museum. Mr. Peabody was kind enough to grant your author special VIP access, for the museum is not yet open for the season. He even let it slip that he and his wife Mary stayed up late the previous night setting up the vintage can displays. A bit cantankerous at first (I was an hour and a half early) Mr. Peabody eventually warmed up. We both love sardines man, what do you expect?
The sardine museum is chock full, bursting even, with vintage cans and old machinery used long ago in the now defunct Maine sardine business.
Listen, even if you don’t like sardines, it’s a great museum and Mr. Peabody is an enthusiastic host. The sardine industry started and ended here, in Maine. The end of an era, really, of something that at one time was so quintessentially American that it was to be taken for granted to always be there.
It will not be the last.
Route 1 hooks around and makes a bit of a detour through Calais and hugs the New Brunswick border a little too close for those who wish to make time. Best to take Route 9 and shave an hour or so off your journey. Best to use that hour to write postcards, play soccer, and sample the sardines you bought at the sardine museum. Best to do it in Danforth, Maine under a blazing, warm, resplendent sun.
Unfortunately, there are no free samples at the Maine Coast Sardine Museum but you CAN purchase sardines there, and at $1 a can, you can’t complain. They’re good man! Mustard is the best one. It has been told.
But don’t dilly too much, for you’ll miss the grand display at Kevin’s stead.